Five new Alaska Sea Grant research projects get underway

salmon underwater

Work has begun on five research projects competitively selected for Alaska Sea Grant funding over the next two years. More than $500,000 will support research involving ocean environmental changes, Pacific salmon in the Arctic, fish responses to environmental change, seaweed cultivation, and sea otter-oyster farm interactions. The research will advance Alaska Sea Grant’s priority focus…

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Conference shares science in Western Alaska

Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference and Forum

The annual Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference (WAISC) was held last month, hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and the UAF Bristol Bay Campus. The 14th installment drew online participation from around the region and state, with 43 presentations across five sessions: Education in Rural Communities; Sustainable Energy; Climate, Environment and Influences on Society; Natural Sciences…

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Alaska Sea Grant accepting applications for associate director

Alaska Sea Grant: join our team

Alaska Sea Grant is now accepting applications for an associate director to lead its successful research and fellowship programs and join the program’s management team. The associate director will help represent Alaska Sea Grant at local, state and national levels; develop new program ideas, strategies and funding; and ensure program integrity and compliance. This position,…

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Storm-related data help Bristol Bay communities plan for change

Man on a boat holds a GPS and a large plastic object.

Coastal communities across the Bristol Bay region are facing significant environmental change as the climate warms. For many west and northwest Alaska coastal communities, long, cold winters produce a barrier of sea ice along the coast, protecting against erosion and damage to infrastructure. With a warming Arctic resulting in less solid sea ice and longer…

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Research investigates toxins in Arctic food webs and marine mammals

Walrus with tusks on a piece of ice in the ocean

A new bulletin published by Alaska Sea Grant summarizes research to inform the public and help them understand the risk of paralytic shellfish toxins in Arctic Alaska food webs and marine mammals. Paralytic shellfish toxins—also called saxitoxins—are produced by microscopic marine algae and can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) when people consume shellfish or marine…

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Kachemak Bay monitoring efforts contribute important data about ocean acidification in nearshore ecosystems

man on boat holding research equipment

Alaska’s coastal waters are some of the most commercially valuable and productive ecosystems on the planet. Ocean acidification—a decrease in ocean pH caused by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide—is expected to impact these ecosystems, but very little is known about how it could alter nearshore environments. Nearshore ecosystems provide habitat and serve as a nursery…

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Research informs where and when harmful algal blooms may occur

Woman on boat

Julie Matweyou and Jesse Gordon contributed to this story Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur when certain species of algae become abundant and produce toxins. Forecasting these blooms could help mitigate human and wildlife health risks. Alexandrium catenella is an alga capable of producing powerful neurotoxins that can accumulate in shellfish and cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning…

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Student interns from Kake contribute to local climate change studies

Elizabeth Figus, PhD, contributed to this story. During the summer of 2021, two students from Kake participated in Alaska Sea Grant’s Community Engaged Internship (CEI). The internship is designed for undergraduate students from underrepresented and Indigenous communities, with the goal to engage students in place-based projects that respect and integrate local ways of knowing. Simon…

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State Fellow spotlight: Ashley Bolwerk

photo of Ashley Bolwerk

Jesse Gordon contributed to this story. Ashley Bolwerk describes her professional path as one that has “meandered between science and education.” After spending six years working for the Sitka Sound Science Center as education manager and contributing to various research projects, Bolwerk decided that she wanted to focus on a science-driven career. She hopes to…

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Pacific Shellfish Institute works with Alaska shellfish growers to address emergency rainfall closures

Hand holding an oyster with ocean in background

Many Alaskan shellfish farms are located far from population centers in pristine coastal waters. In June of 2016, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) implemented a blanket emergency closure policy for remote shellfish growing areas any time two or more inches of rain falls within a 24-hour period. It rains quite often in Southeast Alaska,…

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